Thursday, December 15, 2011
This is the BC Rail we remember
Canadian Railroads: The late great BC Rail
Unfortunately I only made one serious trip to the BCR prior to the CN giveaway. In my young and foolish days the draw of heavy traffic in the Fraser and Thompson Canyons was too much to resist.
However, I did go to the Lillooet once, on a day when the canyon looked slow. Here, for your consideration, are a pair of shots from July 3, 2004, as a short work train winds its way along the shore of Seton Lake, behind a pair of cowled GEs.
This is the BC Rail I knew - red, white, and blue, in the best scenery the province has to offer. R.I.P., BCR.
Thanks for the post . . brings back lots of good memories . . . that particular location up on the hill just south of Lillooet gives you some very nice shots with a good telephoto lens like you used . . . as the track curves around the lake about four times as the train heads toward town.
Date: 12/15/11 10:27
Re: The late great BC Rail
Very nice post. What a great railroad it was. I made the long trip several times to visit - wish now I would have spent more time there.
Source is HERE:
BC Mary comment: It warmed my heart, to see these train-spotter comments. It's strengthening, just knowing that BC Rail lives on, this way. Please visit the source, to see images of two BC Rail GF6-C, 6,000 electric locomotives eastbound with empty 98-car coal train.
One significant factor which didn't fit itself into their discussion is the crucial economic importance of the "late Great BC Rail" -- and how it accounted for the assured loading of the vital goods being produced all along the BCRail line, from North Vancouver to the far northern parts of this big province. I don't remember ever staying awake at night, worrying about how many minutes could be shaved off CN's rush from Chicago (or wherever) to the ports of Vancouver or Prince Rupert. In fact, CN's wild races leave me feeling like road kill.
No, we cared that BC towns, villages, sawmills, cities, farms, tourists, the whole complex society which needed BC Rail to bring them certain essential necessities, was safely in place, as usual. We took pride in the fact that BC Rail was there, through good times and bad. When British Columbians needed BC Rail all the more, when it came time to ship their products to market ... without begging and pleading for the cars ... the cars were there.
BC Rail did all that, quietly and efficiently and if you'll forgive me, I'd say BC Rail responded graciously, promptly, effectively.
I simply don't believe that CN can match the Late Great BC Rail by merely adding boxcars, increasing speed, and eliminating service to towns which are temporarily having economic difficulties. In my view, by increasing their own private profits CN are doing nothing meaningful for the length and breadth of British Columbia -- which BC Rail undertook as a matter of course, as an essential component of their mandate. On the contrary, British Columbia is virtual roadkill while cheap products are whisked in from China and dirty products are slung out from our tar sands and abused mine-sites ... and this is CN's mandate.
BC Rail belongs in the forefront, as it had been all along. In my opinion, British Columbia would be doing very, very nicely -- ideally suited to meet the challenges of to-day and the future.
Let us hope. And if readers are wondering, there are re-possession clauses in that semi-secret set of twilight deals which the Gordon Campbell/ChristyClark governments negotiated back in 2003- 2004. And we do still own the railbed and line. We should never forget that.